A possible government shutdown starting Tuesday would cause federal agencies in Maryland to close or seriously cut back operations, resulting in significant hardship for federal workers, as well as declining economic output and lower tax revenue for the state.
A shutdown is possible because House Republicans have tied government funding in the new fiscal year to delaying or defunding the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.
"I was furloughed two days this summer," said Pentagon police officer and Maryland resident Robert Voss. "I can't afford to lose two more weeks of work. I'm a single father. Two weeks is a long time to go without a paycheck."
Daraius Irani, executive director of Towson University's Regional Economic and Studies Institute, said that a shutdown could lead to days or weeks of lost income and productivity from Maryland's roughly 90,000 federal workers and 180,000 federal contractors.
Irani found that depending on how many of those workers are furloughed, the total loss of income per day to families in Maryland would fall between $18 million and $68 million. That is about 3 to 7 percent of Maryland's total daily income.
Irani said that while that number is small, it can add up quickly, like it did in the government's 21-day shutdown from 1995 to 1996.
"Once you go into day 10, it begins to feel like a real number," Irani said. "And for the state, this means that you have another headwind, a manufactured crisis that you're creating that's going to negatively impact Maryland and Virginia and D.C."
Irani added that Maryland will lose between $700,000 and $2.5 million every day in income taxes, and the state's economic output will fall between $24 million and $89 million each day.
"It will adversely affect our economy, national security and our operations of government," Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said this week. "We have a lot of government employees who will be told not to come to work and who will not be paid."
Military bases throughout Maryland will continue to operate even if the government shuts down Tuesday. Department of Defense Under Secretary Robert Hale said military members will be instructed to continue to carry out their obligations.
Although military members will still report for duty, supporting activities that do not actively contribute to the "safety of life and preservation of property" will be suspended. Military training exercises, recruitment and routine maintenance tasks may come to a halt if the government shuts down next week.
A possible shutdown would affect federal courts in Maryland. Charles Hall, a spokesman for the U.S. District Courts in Maryland, said the effects will likely not be felt until mid-October.
"Our shutdown is going to take a couple of weeks," Hall said. "Unlike some agencies, we have some fee and carry-over money from previous years to keep the lights on and courts running for (about) two weeks into October."
In the wake of a government shutdown, federal agencies and the courts will have to decide what positions are considered essential and non-essential. Those deemed non-essential will be furloughed, which is basically an indefinite, unpaid vacation.
Those deemed essential will be asked to come to work, however, they will not be paid for the duration of the shutdown. Congress would decide whether they are paid after the fact.
When the courts do run out of money, cuts will be made. Hall said decisions about essential and non-essential positions will be made by each court's chief justice.
Another agency that will use carryover funds to continue operating after the Oct. 1 deadline is the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, based in Rockville.